Conceptual project
• Photography • Photo Editing • Cover Design
Cover design for Maggie Nelson’s Bluets—a collection of prose-poems on the color blue as a lens to reflect on memory, loneliness, pain, and love.

This was created April 2020, during the beginning of the coronavirus lockdowns in New York City. The supplies I’ve initially ordered for this project were stalled, and I had three days to figure out something new. The only open store nearby that sold more than groceries was the DII discount store down the street. Inside, I quickly grabbed whatever blue-colored things I could find (this was when we thought so much as stepping outside would get us sick). Cornflower-blue pillowcases, sapphire curtains, a bucket of powder-blue kinetic sand. Back in my kitchen, I played around with the objects in a way that felt right to me, and what ended up forming was a tablescape of blue for one.

I recalled a passage of Bluets where Nelson discusses blue in relation to the appetite:
“There is so little blue food in nature—in fact blue in the wild tends to mark food to avoid (mold, poisonous berries)—that culinary advisers generally recommend against blue light, blue paint, and blue plates when and where serving food. But while the color may sap appetite in the most literal sense, it feeds it in others.”

I edited out the windows and adjusted the walls to a deeper blue, emphasizing the corner part of the room. I wanted the final image to feel isolated and alone, almost to a claustrophobic extent, to reflect Nelson’s state of mind in Bluets—lonely, lost deep in her obsession with blue, entangled in a toxic relationship with a lover that was poisoning but sustaining her at the same time.

Looking back now, it seems fitting to have worked on this during that time of my own solitary isolation, of what many people probably felt during that time of mass seclusion.

The original unedited photo 🤭

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